It’s finals time here on BattleBots Update! This week we’ll be wrapping series 1 of Antweight Anarchy and by the time I write my sign-off for this article a champion will be crowned in this fledgling show. We took another break last week because here in the US it was Thanksgiving weekend and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to finish an article; I had to partake in the celebration of stealing land from Native Americans or something, and that involved turkey and stuffing of which I was responsible for making. I also had to say grace which is weird considering most of the things that come out of my mouth is shit like “P1 deserved Top 32 in BattleBots 2020”.
I know most of the robots on this show are just Hexbug toys to some degree but there’s still a level of excitement to find out which one is going to win, and a good number of them have been customized anyways so it’s not like this whole ordeal is one big boring wash. SMIDSY, Sting, and Tombstone have hung on this long; we’ve got a lifting wedge, thwacking mace, and a spinning bar. There’s room for a #4 though and that’s where the robot rampage rumble finally comes into play. We’ve been hearing about this goddamned special bout for the whole series and now it’s time to see it in action. 15 robots all in the ring at the same time with the fourth spot in the Grand Finals on the line. Everyone who’s been eliminated up to this point will be participating meaning we’ve got some bots to watch like Rusty and Hit and some bots you can ignore like Greed and Two-Headed Death Flamingo.
Let’s get on with the rumble.
WITCH DOCTOR – MANTIS – BANE – BETAS – MINOTAUR – THE SWARM – SCRAPPY – DEMON DRAGON – GREED – DIOTIOR – TWO-HEADED DEATH FLAMINGO – HIT – DONALD THUMP – AIRSTRIKE – RUSTY
It’s been a long time since I last covered a big rumble on this blog, like literal years. Pardon me if I’ve forgotten how I formatted these events in the past, it’s not every day a 15-robot melee is on the table. Normally these lead-in paragraphs for fights are used to introduce the combatants but since there’s over a dozen of them I feel like I’d just be wasting your time and talking forever recapping how every single one of these robots reached this point in the series. The short of it is all of these robots are losers and we’re about to find out which one is the least worst out of the bunch; at one point or another each and every one of the participants in this rumble were eliminated from the main competition. Yes that includes even Demon Dragon, I know it’s hard to believe.
Before the rumble even begins we’re notified that The Swarm is suffering from “technical difficulties” and have had to withdraw from the rumble. I think that’s just because they couldn’t get the Hexbugs to sit still long enough to do all the intro shots for the rumble but that’s me being a cynical fuck. Two attacks seem to spring up as soon as the rumble begins; Rusty charges into the center of the field to smash heads with Diotior while one of the Betas gets involved, and Hit tosses Bane around while Mantis, Scrappy, Minotaur, and Demon Dragon all lock heads nearby. Scrappy’s lunge actually went straight through Rusty and Diotior’s line of fire so I think it’s just trying to land any hit that it possibly can with its pissant axe. I don’t have Scrappy pegged to win this ordeal but early aggression is nice to see.
Rusty shoves Diotior back into the wall and smushes Donald Thump in the process. Next time try moving your fat ass out of the way, Donald. Greed is hanging out nearby as is Airstrike but neither robot appears to be moving. Same with Two-Headed Death Flamingo. Chances are these robots were just added into the fray as cannon fodder because of radio interference issues or possibly even because Anthony and the crew couldn’t find more people to drive these fucking robots. The other half of the Betas not caught up in the crossfire of Rusty and Diotior tries to open the pit but fails to do so because it has the drive power of a sack of rocks. Rusty bee lines toward the other Beta and bumps into the pit trigger in the process opening the hole in the floor. Now things are going to get interesting because I expect that pit to be so stuffed with robots that there will come a point where no more will fit in there.
Rusty smashes into Demon Dragon and very nearly pits both it and itself but pulls away with the dragon in tow since part of its spiky geometry has become stuck on Rusty. Hit is lurking about and has turned its attention toward Greed who’s parked precariously near the same side of the arena it was previously thrown out of and it looks like Hit is working on its second slam dunk. Demon Dragon appears to be dead in the water as usual and it becomes the first robot dropped into the pit as Hit helps it out. One of the Betas pits itself not long thereafter because I assume the drivers forgot who was who since there weren’t any markings on the Betas to fucking separate them. Hit immediately goes back to the side of the arena it came from and heaves Diotior onto its lid. Because of the fur on top of Diotior this puts its back tires off of the ground and knocks it out. Form over function, and all.
Meanwhile Rusty has gone in to break up the Bane/Mantis/Minotaur cluster that formed at the start of the rumble and it looks like something – perhaps Mantis’ weapon but I’m not sold on this idea – has knocked the top panel loose on Minotaur. Again, cosmetic damage because it’s a Hexbug but it’s still an impressive showing from the robot that doesn’t appear to have moved since we last saw it. I guess it’s just been chewing on Minotaur this whole time, who also hasn’t moved. Rusty breaks up the traffic jam and in the process Minotaur falls into the pit with Mantis being pushed back behind it into the corner. Hit seems like an opportunistic predator in this rumble so when the chance presents itself to take Rusty out of the rumble Hit goes for it and fires off its flipper; Rusty gets upended and Two-Headed Death Flamingo takes a stray bullet in the process and gets thrown out of the arena landing behind the goddamned pit tire.
Hit goes for Airstrike who might not have a fucking drive module installed which explains the whole “not moving” thing. As this is going on Witch Doctor is picking on Mantis again but fucks the whole thing up and pits itself leaving Mantis in the corner behind the pit all alone. Bane appears to be not moving anymore, Mantis flexes its jaw a couple of times, and Hit charges into the far corner of the ring to attack both Greed and Donald Thump causing one of them to shit out their drive pod. (It looks like Greed.) Donald Thump springs back to life to do fuck all except drive into the pit. Rusty is somewhat invertible so it’s been getting around since being flipped but it’s now driven into the side wall of the arena and kinked itself upward at an odd angle which appears to have incapacitated it.
Most of the field is dead now, or was dead on arrival. Bane gets flipped proper by Hit who then goes after Scrappy and gets its flipper tangled up in the thwacker’s wheel. Scrappy returns to the world of the living if only for a moment to bash Hit on the head and then crash down into the pit in a fit of uncontrollable driving. Airstike is sitting on its ass near the bit and its “flipper” is splayed open which is odd to me considering there was never anything inside the robot to actuate the flipper, yet there was still a “functional” piece incorporated into the robot? Mantis seems reluctant to leave its corner as it’s partially protected by the corpse of Bane and the open pit. Rusty wiggles itself down from the wall and goes after Hit and winds up getting reoriented in the process.
Hit looks to be the robot to win this shindig because it’s just attacking whoever is left. Greed gets thrown around, dead. Diotior is put back onto its wheels and it takes a few moments for the driver to wake up from their nap and realize this. Rusty gets flipped back onto its lid. It’s just chaos and it’s all being facilitated by the purple flipper. Bane eventually rolls down into the pit with a little help from Hit and Diotior prompting Mantis to finally leave the perceived safety of its corner and spar with Hit. This goes about as well as you might expect, Mantis is promptly turned onto its side and left to die.
The fight turns back to Rusty and Hit as Diotior gets flipped back over and immobilized once again. We’re seeing Rusty’s wedge beat Hit’s flipping wedge and I believe this is for the same reasons we saw Rusty trumping SMIDSY earlier in the tournament; Rusty’s impacts are focused to a more narrow point whereas Hit’s whole wedge is just one giant billboard of fuck and the difference in how these interact with each other upon collision turns out in Rusty’s favor. The two surviving robots inexplicably decide to do some house cleaning in the middle of this rumble by pitting the remains of the leftover competitors, Hit tries to throw Greed out of the arena again from the same spot as last time but its the upper windows and misses. It lands the flip on its second go around though making this its second out of the arena flip in just this rumble.
I said Rusty and Hit were going to be the two bots to watch in this rumble and look who’s left now that the arena’s been swept. Hit manages a couple more tosses on Rusty and Rusty very nearly goes into the pit but it’s filled with so many robots crushing Demon Dragon’s spine at the bottom of the stack that Rusty can’t fit down there. Rusty makes a number of driving errors that would’ve otherwise resulted in it going down but ultimately one such twist happens in the inside corner of the pit where half of Rusty’s wheels go over and the other half stay on the floor. The robot does a balancing act on its midsection meaning none of its wheels are now in contact with the floor. Hit needs to be very fucking careful with this next attack because it can just as easily throw Rusty onto the stack and have it come tumbling off, but Hit manages to leverage Rusty just right and wedge it down into the pit becoming the last robot standing in this rumble and advances onward to the Grand Finals.
HIT vs. TOMBSTONE
We’ve just bore witness to Hit making it into the Grand Finals by way of the rumble but it’s easy to forget that it was a domineering force in the heats as it immediately dispatched the Betas in its opening melee before spending the rest of the fight throwing Sting around. Hit advanced onward to battle Greed and Greed was absolutely no match for the flipper being sent up and over the arena side wall in record time. Hit ultimately fell in its heat final to SMIDSY when the robot wound up in the pit. Ironically, Sting and SMIDSY are still in the game and will be participating in the fight after this one.
Tombstone is the last Hexbug alive somehow making it this far. I guess that just goes to show you that even the toy version of the King of Kinetic Energy is just as badass as the real deal. Tombstone started out the season by crippling Demon Dragon in one blow and throwing The Swarm all over the place. It then met up with Mantis and was on the ropes when it shed part of its added weapon weight in the first blow but managed to come back and tear up Mantis’ sides to win on damage points. Rusty was waiting for Tombstone in the heat finals and by all accounts this should’ve been where Tombstone’s run ended because Rusty was impervious to the Hexbug’s attacks but a spat of shitty driving saw Rusty landing in the pit and allowing Tombstone to move on to the Grand Finals.
Hit’s signature move appears to be just flipping the fuck out of its opponents right out of the starting gate because Tombstone is immediately inverted by the flipper. It can still drive upside-down however so this isn’t an immediate KO. Normally if this were BattleBots this would be the moment where I’d say something like “now Tombstone’s blade will be hitting higher up and this could be a problem for Hit” but again I don’t think Hexbug Tombstone is going to be able to do much to the 3D printed chassis of Hit. As I write this sentence Hit’s already flipped Tombstone back right ways up so I think we know how this fight’s going to go. Apparently there’s a blue strip of something that’s been added underneath Hit’s flipper to protect against Tombstone’s weaponry but I think that’s a bit excessive.
Tombstone and Hit take turns climbing around on top of each other while Hit constantly misses with its flipper. At one point Hit fucks it up so badly that as the flipper retracts it catches the pit tire and rolls Hit onto its back. This is a golden opportunity for Tombstone to land a blow but Tombstone’s nowhere to be seen when this is going on and Hit is able to self-right without any interference. Hit is able to land several more flips on Tombstone but it’s hard telling them apart from each other because they’re just… flips. Nothing special, other than the fact that both of Tombstone’s ass cheek panels have fallen off now. Tombstone bumps into the pit trigger and sets off the hazard, perhaps unintentionally, and now there’s an out for Hit if it can just nudge Tombstone over to the pit.
Stephen keeps hyping up Tombstone’s weapon like it’s the real thing and I get that there’s a certain level of kayfabe going on here but it’s laughable to think that Tombstone landing a hit to Hit’s backside would cause the flipping apparatus to separate or come apart. Tombstone landing a blow to Hit there wouldn’t cause anything other than maybe a scratch since Tombstone’s blade has some box cutters strapped onto it. Tombstone is landing hits though, however minuscule they might be, and one of them sends enough kickback into the spinner to cause it to shed its upper panel. The fight ends right after this happens and sends it to the judges who of course are going to go with Hit.
WINNER: Hit, Judges’ Decision
STING vs. SMIDSY
Sting stumbled out of the gates by losing to Hit in its opening melee, something I just recapped a second ago in the previous fight. This put Sting into the redemption rounds where it effortlessly demolished The Swarm and then led to a fight against Minotaur where one blow from Sting’s mace caused Minotaur to shit itself and shed all of its Hexbug armor panels at once. Minotaur was then bashed so savagely that it was knocked off course and fell into the pit. This put Sting back in the game and into the heat finals where it spent three minutes punching Diotior in the face to win via judges’ decision.
SMIDSY also had to call a mulligan on its start by losing its opening melee to Rusty. In the redemption rounds it faced Betas who’d been softened up ahead of time by Hit from Betas’ previous fight allowing SMIDSY to basically just steamroll through the multibot. Witch Doctor was next to go down in a fight reminiscent of SMIDSY’s qualifier melee with Diotior and Rusty. In the heat finals SMIDSY managed to defeat Hit sending the flipper to the robot rampage rumble. Hit clawed its way out of the jaws of defeat and if SMIDSY wins this fight Hit will have a chance to exact its revenge.
Sting immediately floors it backward to charge up its mace for an overhead attack. It flails back and forth a few times without making any contact with SMIDSY so it engages in its backup plan of just spinning around like fucking crazy. This prompts Stephen to describe the robot – again – as “a whirling dervish”. Is that like a European thing? Because Jonathan Pearce used to say that shit all the time and there was even a shitty spin bot entered in Robot Wars named “Whirling Dervish”. Whatever it is I’m guessing it’s a code word for crap because I’m not seeing any hits from Sting. It’s almost like when Sting gets spinning its mace comes too high up off the ground to make contact with SMIDSY at all. Just barely though, because sometimes there’s a hit.
SMIDSY stays the course and keeps its front end pointed toward Sting no matter what Sting is doing and this is effective in destabilizing Sting because SMIDSY’s wedge causes the horizontally spinning mace to deflect upward, the same physics we see in BattleBots when Tombstone hits a wedge and shits itself. However SMIDSY might want to be a little more true with its aim and avoid getting bashed on the corners because in the slow-mo replays you can see Sting’s mace visibly knocking SMIDSY’s lifter and if that keeps happening I can see the lifting mechanism possibly breaking or coming loose.
Sting is so out of control that SMIDSY triggers the pit while its close to the button because why not, Sting may very well pit itself at this rate. Sting gets its mace snagged in the barrier part of the arena wall leaving it open to a charge attack by SMIDSY who manages to pin the thwack bot against the wall. Impressive considering Sting is literally just all wheels. As Sting gets away and spins back up SMIDSY comes in on the attack once more and Sting rocks SMIDSY so hard that one of the hub caps of Sting pops loose exposing the inner wheel. At this point I don’t even know what’s going to happen because it looks like the whole tire tread might just come off, but we’ll sadly never know because as I suspected earlier Sting is spinning around so wildly that an open pit is basically like leaving a toddler alone with a fork and an unprotected plug socket; that kid’s fucking dead.
Sting spins itself straight into the pit and out of the competition. SMIDSY moves on to face Hit in the Grand Finals.
WINNER: SMIDSY, KO
STING vs. TOMBSTONE
The Grand Final is locked in, but before we get to that it’s time to find out who’s at least getting a podium finish in the third place playoff bout between Sting and Tombstone. We’ve already recapped their journeys to this point, but Tombstone was outmatched by Hit and Sting spun itself into oblivion against SMIDSY. Two similar designs are on show for this fight, one with a bar and one with a mace. Depending on how fragile Sting’s hub caps really are we might see Tombstone pop another one loose, though I wouldn’t count on it.
Sting gets to work whipping up a fucking tornado again and Tombstone has no choice but to come at Sting head on. I mean I guess Tombstone could back into Sting but that would expose its wheels and the removable panels that the judges will erroneously count as “damage” so that’s probably not a good idea. Tombstone takes a shot to the face and now it’s got me wondering if Sting’s mace can pop the little rubber band that powers Tombstone’s weapon. If so that’ll surely spell certain doom for the micro-sized BattleBots legend.
The two robots just trade blows back and forth. It’s like watching a filler episode of Dragon Ball Z. Sting keeps spinning, Tombstone keeps smashing into it, Sting ricochets away, lather, rinse, repeat. One thing I’ve got to say is Stephen has got Jonathan’s mannerisms down better than anyone I’ve ever seen. I don’t know if the impression is intentional or not but he’s mastered the art of essentially talking to himself while the robots fight it out. Sting careens into the pit button in what seems like an accident, but the follow up attempt to drop the pit has got to be intentional. Sting fails, but Tombstone is right there to show Sting how its done and helps its opponent open the pit. I don’t know why the fuck Sting wants the pit open because an open pit means the potential for Sting to just lose immediately.
Sting resumes its wild spinning and takes several more blows from Tombstone until it just sorta stops working. Sting comes to a halt against the arena wall almost as if its internal battery has come loose or perhaps its master power switch got flipped from the impacts somehow. In any case this wasn’t the outcome I was expecting, especially with an open pit, but Sting being dead in the water means Tombstone – the fucking Hexbug – has managed a third place finish.
WINNER: Tombstone, KO
HIT vs. SMIDSY
We know how these two robots made it here, all that matters is who wins this fight because the first ever Antweight Anarchy title is on the line. Winner gets the championship belt, loser goes home with nothing. Hit has come back from the verge of oblivion for this one last shot at revenge against SMIDSY who pitted it earlier in the tournament, and SMIDSY is hoping that it can perform a repeat of its previous showing against the flipper. It knows it’s got its work cut out for it because Hit’s not going to let up as soon as the lights go up.
This is going to be a very tactical fight with the more methodical SMIDSY looking to find its footing while the quicker Hit prefers to stick and move. That’s exactly what we see as seconds into the fight SMIDSY is already thrown over by a perfectly timed flip from Hit. Now inverted, SMIDSY has no defense against Hit and its just a sitting duck until it gets flipped over again. The real life version of SMIDSY has a lifting wedge that can be used even while upside-down but I don’t think the miniature version here can do that very well. Hit takes SMIDSY into the wall for a pop to try and pin SMIDSY against the wall. This fails, but SMIDSY still lands on its back as it comes down.
Hit misses a second attempt at pinning SMIDSY against the wall and SMIDSY lands underneath Hit’s extended flipper. This could be a viable strategy for Hit to use its flipper like a makeshift clamp, but the robot seems uninterested in doing this because it lets SMIDSY go, takes it to the other corner of the arena, and throws it completely over its back letting the wedge bot land on its wheels again. For some reason SMIDSY’s lifter appears to be stuck open meaning its not winning any ground clearance battles any time soon. It’s a blank check for Hit to just flip again and that’s exactly what happens. Strangely, as SMIDSY lands back on its head its lifter retracts. Smart fucking move, you should’ve done that 10 seconds ago.
SMIDSY doesn’t stay upside-down for long as Hit flips it over onto the top of the pit again. If the pit were open, which it looked like both robots contemplated opening it for a second, this would be it and we’d have a winner here. Instead SMIDSY is now back on its wheels to show off that dumb Five Nights at Freddy’s sticker it has on its lid. SMIDSY strangely goes back to fighting with its lifting wedge raised. I’m not certain what the goal here is unless “losing” happens to be it. I can’t think of a single advantage SMIDSY would have with its lifter perpetually erect. SMIDSY goes for the pit trigger, misses, and gets flipped again. We see a little bit of clamp action from Hit and it looks viable. I’m telling you Hit, this is how you win. Open the pit, drop the flipper on top of SMIDSY like a clamp, and throw that motherfucker down the hole.
A lot of posturing happens between the two robots with SMIDSY getting a few good pushes in on Hit with its superior drivetrain, but Hit landing a couple of smaller flips of its own resulting in SMIDSY yet again being on its ass. Hit seems to be trying to go for a flourish of sorts to win by flipping SMIDSY out of the arena and this seems like a bad idea. Just win the fight the normal way, don’t try any funny shit because that’s exactly how you loose a fucking fight.
SMIDSY’s had enough and goes for the pit tire proper and slams into it. The pit drops. Hit flips SMIDSY over to negate SMIDSY’s wedge, but that doesn’t matter. SMIDSY has the better drivetrain as it’s 4WD against 2WD, probably with the same motors too. That’s twice the power. Twice the fucking. SMIDSY backs into Hit, the two robots lock together, and Hit is shoved down the hole. There were a number of moments where Hit could’ve won this fight, but no it just had to try and humiliate SMIDSY by throwing it out of the arena and doing dumb shit like that. Look at what happened, you lost. Congratu-fucking-lations.
CHAMPION: SMIDSY, KO
And so with a little perseverance SMIDSY take home the title. It even gets to ride the lazy susan again and spin around with its trophy, the 2nd through 4th place robots visible behind it. That’s a wrap on series 1 of Antweight Anarchy. It’s a fun little series with a lot of charm. Feedback from some readers was that they’d never even heard of this show before until I covered it so I am glad to’ve brought it to a wider audience through BattleBots Update. This is the kind of content I want to be able to do between seasons of BattleBots; Antweight Anarchy, BuggleBots, Lego Robot Wars, hell even regular Robot Wars and Robotica, and older seasons of BattleBots too. This website has been around for six years and there’s still so much to do and so much to see, so what’s wrong with taking the back streets?
Before the final episode of Antweight Anarchy ends there’s a teaser for series 2 with a ton of robots shown off in various up close introductory shots. Pay close attention and you’ll see replicas of Nuts, Dantomkia, Apex, Panic Attack, Razer, Hypnodisc, and Terrorhurtz among several other unknown bots. The Hypnodisc replica looks kind of jank but the others were pretty good, plus other bots like Eclipse and Nexus that appear to be unique to Antweight Anarchy. I’m not sure when we’ll get to series 2, because the next season of BattleBots is coming up quick, but rest assured we’ll get there in due time.
In the meantime hang tight because I still have some other things cooking here on BattleBots Update before season 11 starts. I think you’ll find them very interesting. If you’d like to support this project you can do so with a monthly pledge on Patreon, or a one-time donation with Ko-Fi. (Additionally to support Antweight Anarchy here is their Patreon.) If you’re into stickers we’ve got ’em over on Redbubble, and remember to follow BattleBots Update on Facebook for everything else.
See you next time!